One of the best ways to learn a foreign language is by traveling overseas, where you have every chance to test your new language skills. While Spain might seem like an obvious option, South America is probably the best place to learn Spanish.
Not only are Spanish language lessons affordable, but local accents are also understandable, and you even get a chance to discover a new continent.
Learning a language abroad is the ultimate way to fuel your wanderings as well as your minds. No wonder it’s the favorite bucket list and the bestseller in career breaks.
Going deep into another world, getting your mind around the grammar, and exploring a new way of life is something very memorable. Wherever you stay, you will become a resident for a magical little window of time. There’s nothing like that.
Know the Following First Before Anything Else
Comprising 12 different countries and occupying 6.89 million square miles, South America has numerous language research opportunities – and maybe too many.
Before you read our tips for the best places to study Spanish, we should be aware of the following:
The costs of Spanish lessons differ significantly throughout the globe. As a rule of thumb, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay have the most expensive schools, while Peru and Bolivia are also the cheapest places in South America for studying Spanish.
South American Spanish is commonly considered to be easier to understand than Spanish – aka Spanish from Spain. However, the Argentinian and Chilean accents are notoriously tricky to master – but for many, the Argentinian and Uruguayan accents are the softest on the ear because they have a characteristic Italian lilt. Peru and Colombia are generally considered to be the best to learn from a non-native perspective. At the end of the day, whichever South American country you want to learn Spanish in, it’s possible that this accent will end up being the one you understand better.
Depending on how long you intend to study at a Spanish school in South America, you can need to be mindful of the visa situation and how long you may legally stay in the country. You can find up-to-date reports on the website of your state department or foreign office. Go to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
One of the easiest ways to surcharge your language skills is by sitting at home. It virtually ensures that you’re staying with a nearby family for the remainder of your study period, providing unprecedented chances to bring into effect the phrases you’ve studied in training.
Before You Go: WHERE TO LEARN SPANISH IN SOUTH AMERICA
Since there are more Spanish speakers than English speakers in the world, learning Spanish is a brilliant choice. Yeah, you could take a quick trip to Spain, but why don’t you want to get off to a whole different continent and move to South America instead? Not only can you expand your horizons, but you will also widen your mind. Your classroom is the universe! You’re coming home relaxed, sun-kissed, and with some luck, sounding like a local. And you’re going to be much more employable. What should have been better?
CARTAGENA DE INDIAS, COLOMBIA
Cartagena, a city with a thick background and a heady Latino climate, is situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. A labyrinth of tiny cobbled avenues, rainbow-colored homes, tumbling bougainvillea, and shady courtyards, of the most stunning cities in the world. Sipping on a Margarita in a sunny square, you’re going to be transported straight to Romancing the Stone. After a typical brainwork session in the classroom, you should take your bikini and hit the beach. It’s the best spot to work hard and play hard.
Purists are trying to convince you that Colombia is the undisputed champion in learning Spanish in South America. The Colombians are renowned for their crisp, crystalline Spanish, rich in melodic tones and neutral accents. If you’re serious about mastering Spanish, Colombia is second to none. On top of that, Colombia is a country full of vibrant, crumbling cities, coffee plantations, sun-drenched coastlines, and vast, warm people.
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA.
Indeed, the Paris of South America. Buenos Aires is the safest city on the continent and the perfect destination to learn Spanish for many tourists. This cosmopolitan city mixes grand, French and Italian-style houses, a penchant for tango, and carnivorous decay in its embrace of a good steak. The Spanish schools in Buenos Aires encourage you to be right at the center of the action – the dream of attending an impromptu tango dance in the middle of a leafy city square or exploring the nightlife of a city that barely sleeps. Studying Spanish in Argentina could take you a while as you learn to get your tongue around the “ll” that is pronounced as “sh” and the Lunfardo (like the city’s extensive slang vocabulary). Still, once you do, you’ll undoubtedly feel like a true local.
The Peruvians, like the Colombians, speak Spanish with a neutral accent. It is what makes it the prime learning territory. Cusco’s location is also brilliantly strategic, so you can spend your weekends hiking in the Andes, rafting down the Amazon, or soaking up the beauty of the Holy Valley. You might also go back to Machu Picchu for a morning to recall frankly. With too much to do on the doorstep, Cusco is a killer alternative for a language school.
In Peru, Cusco was the Inca Empire’s heartbeat, making it a legendary place to study a language. They are nestled in the Andes’ foothills, surrounded by snowy mountains, a town well known for stealing hearts. Cusco is a vibrant patchwork of contrasts, where Inca temples rub elbows with great cathedrals and fast-food franchises of the 21st century. Housing prices are comparatively modest, there is a ridiculously high concentration of carnivals, and locals enjoy healthy knees.
Study Spanish as a surfer expert in Montanita, Ecuador, where the breaks are fantastic, the drinks are cheap, and the weather is excellent. If you’re a deadly beach bunny searching for a language vacation, Montanita is the best spot for you. Here you can hit the pages, ride the waves, and repeat the process every day. It’s laid back heaven for language learning.
Although surfing is Montanita’s mainstay, there are a lot of things up her sleeve. Master the salsa, try kite-surfing, snorkel, and wake up every day with an early morning dive. If you’re an active soul with a passion for fun and enjoyment of the seas, you’ll be on these sands in the seventh heaven. Only bear in mind the Montanita is tough to abandon, with backpackers washing up on those beaches for days that turn into weeks that turn into months.
Peru’s busy capital doesn’t have the same Latin zeal as Buenos Aires, but Lima remains a fantastic place to learn Spanish. The City of Kings, as it was first baptized, has the oldest buildings on the continent (we’re talking around the middle of the 16th century), dazzling museums filled with gold, ceramics, and stonework dating back thousands of years, and probably the best cuisine on the continent. If you can’t relate to this, then you haven’t experienced ceviche at one of the town’s trademark cevicherías.
Although the intonation may be identical and could resemble the Río de la Plata accent, the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo, could not be more distinct from Buenos Aires across the sea. It’s calmer than its twin, but it mixes a new face with an ancient old heart that gives way to massive shopping centers and beaches in the southeast. It’s also ranked as having the best quality of life and the safest city on the globe, so if you’re looking for a green city with access to a vast golden coastline, then you can’t go wrong studying at a language school in Montevideo.
Mendoza is the country of wine (out of classroom hours, of course). More reserved than Buenos Aires, it’s a buzzing area with a vibrant nightlife and a cosmopolitan, youthful atmosphere. If you’re after some old-fashioned fun during your stay in South America, Mendoza is going to be right up your path. Here you can practice tango, hike in the Andes, spend the afternoon watching people from the square cafe, stroll through the vineyards, and munch through world-class steaks.
Of note, Argentina is not the best place to study pure Spanish. Its people speak in a gaucho-style dialect of their own, with all sorts of peculiarities and lilts. But this sure doesn’t rule out Argentina when it comes to studying areas in South America. Argentina’s vocabulary is a little sexy all on its own, and Argentina’s jaw-dropping natural elegance is worth the extra-linguistic challenge.
Colombia is one of the perfect places to learn Spanish in South America, as Colombians are known for their neutral accents – ensuring you have a greater chance of knowing what they say! Spanish language schools in Cartagena offer an enviable opportunity to learn in a stunning colonial area, with access to white sandy beaches blessed with magnificent sunshine all year round.
Bolivia has the most economical cost of living in South America. If you have a small budget, this might be the spot for you. What’s more, the Bolivians speak Spanish really clearly, which will help you get your grammar off the ground.
The capital city was born to teach Spanish. Travelers are taking separate trips to get there JUST to learn Spanish. It’s a massive culture. Almost any traveler you crash into is learning Spanish. You begin to settle into a routine; go to school, do your homework, make new friends, and practice your Spanish with the hostel staff and other locals. It’s just unbelievable.
Today, Sucre is a vibrant university town packed with brilliant young Bolivian stuff. It gives a youthful hope and a potential feeling that never ceases to inspire. Hidden away in a valley surrounded by small mountains, it is the best way to get to the Great Outdoors. It’s a lovely getaway from the world and the best place to learn a lot of new things.
THE PAMPAS, ARGENTINA.
If you’re searching for a genuinely unique opportunity to study Spanish in South America, learning a language in the Argentine Pampas may be what you didn’t even know you had in mind. Staying on a traditional hacienda or ranch, you can study Spanish in the very heart of the gaucho (cowboy) country. It’s also an extraordinary chance to learn about the Argentine gauchos, who still herd cattle on grassy plains all over the country and who can teach you something or two about riding a horse. Plus, if you’re interested in tasty, barbecued steaks washed down with Malbec lashes, studying at home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires is right up your alley.
Why It Is Important To Learn Spanish?
Traveling through a country where you don’t speak a local language can be challenging, intimidating, and at times, irritating.
And though it’s quick enough to teach yourself simple phrases like hello, good morning, how are you, please and thank you, we’ve discovered that this isn’t enough to get the best out of your travels.
The most beneficial thing about learning Spanish is that it is commonly spoken in South America and almost all over the globe.
1. Quire for directions
It’s likely that when you’re driving, you’re going to get lost.
If you need to get to the bus station, find your hotel, or traverse a particular street or area, it can be a struggle even though you know the local language.
But if you don’t, navigating your way around can be a minefield.
2. Question what intrigues you
In South America, you will eventually come across some things that you’ve never seen before.
For example, you have seen oddly shaped fruits in the marketplace or weird packaged products in the supermarket. If you’re a curious person who really wants to know more about it, you’re going to want to ask yourself what it is.
3. Request food at a restaurant
Restaurant menus are typically written in Spanish and English in tourist areas.
But what happens if you find yourself in a restaurant trying to order food from a Spanish menu without any other language translation? You want to know what you’re eating, don’t you?
4. Be aware of what’s happening.
There will be moments where you see something going on and want to know what’s going on.
5. Inform anyone if you’re not well
Often things go wrong when you’re driving. You may suffer from altitude sickness, or you may get ill after you overdo it on local street food. Or maybe you’ll have some severe disease.
So how are you going to get some help?
You will need to visit a pharmacist to inquire about drugs, or you may need to tell a doctor about your symptoms in the case of something extreme. It can be a challenge, or rather humiliating if you don’t speak a local language and have to act what you are feeling.
6. Read the labels at the store.
If you have unique dietary criteria or simply want to know what you’re consuming, then that’s relevant.
As vegans, we still have to read the ingredients for any food item we purchase.
We’re still struggling to decode the names on the back of the bottles, cans, and crates in the store.
Learning simple Spanish will help you be more informed about what you’re buying and make the right choices about where you’re allocating your money.
7. Avoid overpayment
Haggling is a significant part of the trip, but it can be challenging if you don’t know the local language.
In situations like these, it would be useful to know the local currency and some simple counting.
Often, you need to speak up for yourself if there are instances that you feel like you’re being taken advantage of.
8. Avoid getting yourself scammed
Whether it’s overpaying for a taxi, an object on the street, or even a tour, there are times when people want to charge you extra simply because you’re a tourist.
Then there are others going a step ahead who will get the money out of you.
Sadly, no matter how secure a town is, there will always be people who want to trick you.
And if you present them a chance, they’re going to take advantage of it.
Not only is it essential to be able to speak at least a little Spanish here, but it also helps to do your homework about what your criteria for cross-country travel are.
9. Enjoy the culture
One of the remarkable things about moving to a foreign country is to explore its distinctive culture.
If it’s how the people dress up the traditional cuisine, local music or festivals and activities are celebrated.
10. Interact with the locals
If you can’t talk with people, you won’t understand their history and culture.
Do not expect to be welcomed to people’s homes, social gatherings, or the best non-tourist bars and restaurants in town.
Likewise, broader, more meaningful travel opportunities, including volunteering in remote or off-road areas, are incredibly limited.
Learning Spanish will sound daunting at first, but you can soon become more confident once you start speaking. You’re not going to be afraid to try, so the local residents really value the effort. And if you make mistakes, in most situations, people will always get what you’re trying to mean.
In some instances, they’re also going to correct you, ensuring you’re not able to make the same mistake again.
Studying the Spanish Language In South America
English is typically the most popular travel language, but there are not a lot of people who know it well. A typical trend for many travelers who spend a decent amount of time in South America is to take Spanish lessons at the beginning of their journeys so that they can connect more effectively in their time here.
One exciting thing about traveling in this area is that a good percentage of Central and South American countries use one language for contact – Spanish. Unlike Europe or Southeast Asia, where each nation has its own specific language and dialect, being able to speak Spanish in conversation would take you a long way to communicate across South America, and indeed the whole Latin American region.
Many cities and popular tourist destinations give both group and private lessons, depending on your choice and budget. In Colombia and Ecuador, Medellín, Cartagena, Quito, and Montanita seemed popular with travelers who wanted to learn Spanish.